Guidelines on Ebola, Open Enrollment Approaches, and the Role of Telemedicine

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October 24, 2014

Welcome to The ACP Advocate,

Our first article this issue is about ACP’s Ebola Resources: A Guide for Physicians.

"When the illness and patients come, and when there's an emerging threat, we need to have our policies and procedures in place," notes Dr. David Fleming, president of ACP, when he emphasized the Guide’s importance. "We need to be trained and knowledgeable, and we should not overreact."

ACP’s Ebola Guide provides clinical guidance and patient information on the Ebola outbreak. To help its members and their patients understand Ebola and its implications, ACP has developed several resources that are provided in the article.

Last issue, we told you how the shouting isn't quite over and the glitches aren't quite gone, but the verdict is in about the impact to date of the Affordable Care Act.
"We have 10 million people insured now who were not insured prior to the implementation of the ACA," said Dr. Fleming. "There are challenges out there that are making it more difficult for the full rollout to occur, but it's the law of the land, and it's been successful."

The Oct. 10 article also noted some of the obstacles facing health officials as Americans begin applying for coverage through marketplaces for 2015.
In this issue, we point out that the rallying cry is now: Ready, set, renew!
That's the message from the federal government as it launches the second year of insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act's state and federal marketplaces. However, predictions are that marketplace users won't have to face the severe online snafus that made it so difficult to sign up for coverage a year ago.
Even if consumers want to shop around, however, they don't have much time. Whether they already get their coverage through the marketplaces or need to enroll for the first time, millions of Americans must make choices about 2015 during the three-month open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15.

You can link to up-to-the-minute ACP resources from the first 'In focus' item to the right.
Dr. Fleming notes, too, that, "ACP has updated its ACA Enrollment resources which provide information to physicians and their patients about the law's coverage programs and what to expect in 2015."  
Today’s final article looks at the growth of telemedicine. As it continues to play a bigger role in our work, there are attendant risks for both physicians and patients. The piece looks at how increased access and decreased costs are among the positives, while concerns remain about reimbursement and continuity of care.

Until our next issue and for more coverage of what's happening in Washington take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty. You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP.

As always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians

In the news
» Ebola Resources: A Guide for Physicians

Where to find clinical guidance and patient information on the Ebola outbreak

As the Ebola virus appears in the United States, two potentially bigger threats are lurking in the wings: fear and panic. But preparedness and reliable information can be antidotes to hysteria.

"W... (read more)

» Changes in Store as Round 2 Nears for Marketplace Insurance Sign-Up

Shorter forms, more insurers and less hassle are among differences experts see for this year's open enrollment period

Ready, set, renew! That's the message from the federal government as it launches the second year of insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act's state and federal marketplaces.

Sitting ar... (read more)

» As Telemedicine Grows, So Do Risks and Benefits, for Physicians and Patients Alike

Increased access, decreased costs among the positives, but reimbursement and continuity of care concerns remain

Telemedicine is booming, with more employers and smartphone apps offering patients quick-and-easy remote access to a physician.

But with this boom comes concerns that telemedicine might not be up ... (read more)

In this issue
» Ebola Resources: A Guide for Physicians
» Changes in Store as Round 2 Nears for Marketplace Insurance Sign-Up
» As Telemedicine Grows, So Do Risks and Benefits, for Physicians and Patients Alike

In focus
» Health Insurance Marketplace Resources
ACP provides several tools for practitioners and their patients to prepare them for the upcoming open enrollment period and provide information on health coverage and insurance market reform. ACP's resources include FAQs addressing concerns of physicians and their patients, state-specific information on enrollment and coverage provisions, and other useful resources. The enrollment period will start on Nov. 15, 2014 and end on Feb. 15, 2015.
» Provider Call: Transitioning to ICD-10
The MLN Connects National Provider Call Program will be hosting a call on Nov. 5 covering the approaching transition to ICD-10. CMS experts will discuss implementation issues, opportunities for testing, and resources. A question and answer session will be included.
» Hardship Exception Applications
CMS is announcing its intent to reopen the submission period for hardship exception applications for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to avoid the2015 Medicare payment adjustments for not demonstrating meaningful use of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT). The new deadline will be November 30, 2014. Previously, the hardship exception application deadline was April 1, 2014 for eligible hospitals and July 1, 2014 for eligible professionals.
» Students to Service Program
If you are a student in your final year at accredited U.S. allopathic and osteopathic medical school, are committed to primary care and have eligible student loans, you can apply to the NHSC Students to Service (S2S) Program. If selected, you can receive $120,000 in loan repayment for committing to serve at an approved NHSC site full time for at least 3 years (or half time for at least 6 years) following the completion of a primary care residency. The FY 2015 S2S LRP application cycle opened on September 17, 2014.

About this newsletter
The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to
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